Biden lays out US plan to preserve, restore forests by 2030

Over 100 countries at COP26 sign pledge to stop deforestation

GLASGOW, United Kingdom -- President Joe Biden continued his push Tuesday for global cooperation to address climate change during his second day at COP26.

Biden spent at least part of the day asking for leaders gathered at the 10-day United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, to help stop deforestation and preserve millions of acres of what he called "critical carbon sinks."


Forests are considered the lungs of the planet. Trees serve as air scrubbers, taking carbon dioxide out of the air and expelling oxygen. However, there are not enough trees on the planet to keep up with the amount of carbon dioxide humans are emitting. In fact, one climate expert said it would take three planets worth of trees to stop climate change.

Biden said the U.S. will employ a whole-of-government approach and $9 billion to restore nearly 500 million acres of natural forests by 2030 – the same year Biden aims to have greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. cut in half.

"Preserving forests and other ecosystems can and should play an important role in meeting our ambitious climate goals," Biden said.


The president’s plan calls for rethinking source materials for manufacturing to make them more sustainable and make supply chains more stable. He said he also wants to remove the factors that lead to deforestation and incentivize restoration efforts.

"At every step, we’ll work in partnership with the people most impacted by deforestation and most experienced in sustainable land management -- local communities, Indigenous peoples, local governments, civil societies -- to make sure our approaches are effective and focused on the needs of vulnerable populations," Biden said.

More than 100 countries, representing more than 80% of the world’s forests, also signed a pledge to reverse deforestation. Brazil, which is home to the bulk of the Amazon Rainforest, the world’s largest, was one of the signatories.

"I am confident we can do this," Biden said. "All we need to do is summon the will."